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Musicians Insitute Library

Amanda Hansen: Listening Examples

Great Groups - Collegiate

NorthEastern University's nor'easters

The Nor’easters are Northeastern University’s premier co-ed a cappella group. As the oldest group on campus, the Nor’easters have continuously striven to maintain the highest standards of musicality while still keeping the fun and love alive.

They have had the honor of being named the 2013 and 2017 Champions of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, the ICCA Wildcard Champions in 2015, and have performed for the President and First Lady of the United States at the White House Christmas Gala in 2013. The Nor’easters were also the feature group on the first season of PopTV’s docu-series, “Sing It On," performing with John Legend on The View and traveling to New York, Los Angeles and Australia to perform and promote the show.

SoCal VoCals

Founded in 1996, the SoCal VoCals are the oldest a cappella group at the University of Southern California.

BYU Vocal Point

BYU Vocal Point is a nine-member, male a cappella group at Brigham Young University. Founded by students in 1991, Vocal Point operates under the direction of BYU's Performing Arts Management.

Pitch Slapped

Pitch Slapped is one of the world's premiere co-ed a cappella groups. Founded by Cate Wright in 2006 and representing the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, the group's repertoire spans a range of genres, from pop and r&b to rock.

Since it's founding in 2006, Pitch Slapped has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame. Names one of the top five a cappella groups in the country by USA Today, the group has won two International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella competitions in 2011 and 2014. In 2010, the group appeared on NBC's The Sing Off and was featured on America's Got Talent in 2015.

Most recently, they have toured across the country and internationally to China performing and working with middle school, high school, and collegiate students. Pitch Slapped's music, including their full length album, is available on iTunes.

Collegiate A Cappella

Great Groups - Professional


Three-time Grammy® Award-winning and multi-Platinum-selling Pentatonix has sold nearly 10 million albums worldwide and performed for hundreds of thousands of fans at their sold out shows across the globe. Their YouTube channel boasts more than 14.5 million subscribers, yielding over 3 billion video views. Their 2015 self-titled album is certified gold after debuting #1 on Billboard’s 200.

Additionally, nine of their albums reached the top 10 on Billboard’s 200 chart (2 at #1) and received multiple RIAA certifications for multi-platinum, platinum and gold selling albums and singles.  The group has had two holiday specials on NBC (watch 2017's A Very Pentatonix Christmas  here), released their tour documentary - On My Way Home - in 2015 and appeared in the feature film, Pitch Perfect 2.

Most recently, Pentatonix released a deluxe version of their certified Platinum 2016 holiday album A Pentatonix Christmas Deluxe and wrapped their sold-out A Pentatonix Christmas Tour in December.

The Filharmonic

The Filharmonic, an LA-based a cappella group of Filipino-American youngsters who were featured in NBC’S hit musical competition, The Sing-Off, has much to sing about. The 5-piece vocal group made the semi-finals, joined The Sing-Off national tour, and were featured in the Universal Pictures hit movie, Pitch Perfect 2, setting off a viral sensation after their Late Late Show appearance. In 2016, The Filharmonic brings their unique blend of hip hop, pop and 90'S nostalgia to more than 150 college stages nationwide and was named the #1 college booked entertainment group of the year.

Home Free

In country music, there are endless debates about what kind of instrumentation really defines the genre as it constantly updates itself and divides into traditional and contemporary factions. Home Free found an ingenious way to get around those kinds of arguments: just ditch the instrumentation altogether. Their five members are all about what has always inarguably been at the core of country music: the human voice.

That Home Free is country music’s only real a cappella group is a novelty that, on the radio or on record, might only occur to listeners after the fact, since arrangements that are so fully fleshed out — and we do mean fleshed out, as opposed to machined out — have a way of tricking the ear. In concert, of course, it’s a different story: all at once, from first row to last, jaws drop at the first sight of all those throats in action, followed by nodding, dancing and even crying as the group’s powerful musical storytelling unfolds.

Professional A Cappella

Barbershop Groups